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Breaking: Zapatero announces ETA talks

by kcurie Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 08:51:48 AM EST

Just five minutes ago PM of Spain Zapatero has announced the beginning of talks with the terrorists group ETA.

In a press conference that will probably hit international media quite soon (you read it here first), Zapatero announced that they will open talks with ETA given that the police and secret sevice have corroborated a complete lack of activity by ETA.

Some extra information you may not find in the international press under the fold...and please..come in with comments..the feeling is that this time is for real.

Promoted by Colman


Three bits of information that you only can get from the spanish press.

First bit, Zapatero wanted to announce the negotations formally in Congress, but expecting the heckling and wooos of the right-wing Popular party decided to skip his desire (and promise) to give a more serious institutational tone. He got the support from all political parties in congress except for PP (which tried to spoilt the press conference by announcing five hours earlier its existence) to break his promise.

Second bit, Zapatero has made a good deal of emphasis on "negotiation will not mean to pay any political price" during the press conference. This is the frame used by the Popular party to mean that no change in the Basque statute should be implemented. Zapatero stressed that no political negotiations will be carried out with ETA and that no political price will be paid. On the other hand he strongly hinted that any process within the constitution will be carried out with all political forces to help support the process. So it really seems that Batasuna, the illegal political party supporting ETA will probably condemn violence and become a legal party..soon? allowing it to participate in a new statute?

Third bit of information. I think Zapatero has been trying to clarify the end point of the negotiations because nobody announces with this publicity the talks (at least former presidents F. Gonzalez and J. M Aznar never did it) if he does not know where they are going. On the other hand the judicial system has a lot of open processes against ETA memebers or ETA structures of the past which hardly anyone knows where they are going. Actually, the blackmail structure of ETA seems to have had some dissidents who wanted to get money no matter what the chief members of the organization group were ordering producing a police raid last week. The official reason of the raid could also be false information provided by the government to support the talks and some particular member of the ETA organization more willing to talk. Nobody really knows.

In this framework is very important to know what will happen in the "Audiencia Nacional" a very important and separate court system that deals with terrorists and organized crime. The one who will be the judge in charge of dealing with most of the ETA files (the more delicate ones) will be very important. If it falls in the hands of a fascist judge there will be extremelly nasty inside political and "existential" fights. If it falls in pro-government hands Zapatero will have everything under his control....except the radical right-wing media...and the right wing neo-con PP party behind. Right now, it seems that a good bunch of the files will go very soon to a very famous judge...the Pinochet judge Baltasar Garzón that most of you will remember. He has hinted different things at different times about the proper course of action with ETA now.

I know I forget a lot of details...very important...like what kind of approximations exist right now...what kind of strategy will Batasuna follow..and PP...and PNV (the democratic nationalistic center-right basque party)..

A lot of opens questions...comments...ideas...

Display:
Should be interesting...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:14:20 AM EST
You can find the text of the announcement here:

Declaración institucional de Zapatero para anunciar el inicio de contactos con ETA. Zapatero institutional declaration to announce the beginning of contacts with ETA.

We will need some translation help somewhere...

The frontpage of the BBC

Spain PM ready to open Eta talks.

A pleasure

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:16:02 AM EST
Other political reactions via El Pais (in Spanish). Try Babelfish on them.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:51:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On my company network, a strange filtering seems to be installed... I can't access AltaVista and Babelfish, and a few other pages, but no problems with rivals like Google etc.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We will post translation of relevant fact as work allows...trust us in our discretion and translation :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to avoid confirmation bias, I am going to translate the reactions critical of Zapatero's move...
The presidente of the Government of Navarra, Miguel Sanz, has repeated that "we are not in the right circumstances" to initiate a dialogue with ETA. For Sanz, "the latest images of Txapote and his partner and of the two ETA members proclaiming their pride to belong to ETA and kicking the glass panes demonstrate tangibly that there is not an inequivocal will to abandon violence, extortion, crime and blackmail".
We have met Sanz (UPN-PP) before here.

The references to Txapote and his girlfriend laughing and kicking their enclosure refer to a recent high-profile trial which I have also mentioned in passing recently.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 04:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
María del Mar Blanco, sister of Miguel Ángel Blanco, murdered by ETA, showed her "indignation" over Zapatero's announcement and has claimed that she "didn't know whether the speaker was José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero or Arnaldo Otegi". The sister of the late local councillor of Ermua for the PP has criticizes the start of dialogue with ETA while the gang is still active, since, she asserted, extortion of entrepreneurs and street violence continue.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 04:22:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Association of Victims of Terrorism (AVT) considers that the president of the Government, with the announcement of the start of dialogue with ETA, has killed the emory of the victims of terrorism. "If ETA has physically assassinated nearly a thousand citizens and wounded over eight thousand, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has killed the memory of those people, making their deaths and wounds senseless", the ssociation indicates in a statement. The AVT, which considers that today is "one of the saddest days in the history of democracy", states that the breaking of the anti-terrorist pact which, according to this association, the Goverment has provoked, is "a betrayal not only of the victims of terrorism but to all democrats as a whole".


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The philosopher Fernando Savater considers that Zapatero['s statement] has been "astoundingly silly" and it is a "very unfortunate approach" to mix, in his announcement of dialogue with ETA, issues from Basque politics. Savater has declared that with ETA one can "only" talk about the end of the terrorist gang, so he can't understand the political references nor the statements about respect for the will of the Basque people. That part was "astoundingly silly", he concluded.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The opinion of the citizen platform Enough! (¡Basta Ya!) is that president Zapatero has broken his promise to ask permission from the Parliament to talk to ETA, as he limited himself to communicate it in a public appearance before the press. The platform's spokesman, Carlos Martínez Gorriarán, has said that Zapatero's way to communicate his decision implies replacing "parliamentary democracy with some sort of showman democracy".
This is the only criticism I agree with as it is substantive as opposed to a confused rant or a PP talking point. Spanish blogger extraordinaire Ignacio Escolar shows his disapproval.

I agree with kcurie on the motivation behind Zapatero's tactical decision, but I was also unhappy when, a couple of months ago, it was revealed that he had decided not to submit the start of negotiations to a new vote (choosing to rely on the generic endorsement of May 2005) because of the risk of creating a precedent and a need to ask for a vote for every little step of the process.

Personally, and I am aware this is maybe a starry-eyed view of parliamentary politics, I would have preferred that each little step was debated publicly and endorsed by the Congress.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Visiting again Ignacio Escolar's blog, I find some additional pointed criticism of Zapatero's handling of this announcement.
Periodistas 21 via Escolar.net: Overexposed (2006 June 29)
President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero finally spoke. Nearly an hour and a half later than was announced. Using the Congress a a press room, he repeater his "long, hard and difficult" road to peace with guarantees for legality, the victims and the opposition.
Zapatero also asked for "the cooperation of all media taking into account the scope of the process we are going to live [through]".
When politicians ask for the cooperation of the press, it's best to jump into a trech with one's [ammo] clip full of information.

If there has been too much of comething on this road so far, it is overexposition. So much so that the president's appearance itself facng no Deputies has been a propaganda act designed by himself. He set deadlines which nobody demanded—at least that we know of—and the statement before the Congress ended up in back-and-forth press conferencing with Rajoy so that everyone can repeat what they have already said.
(translation mine, with my emphasis)

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 1st, 2006 at 08:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The president of the Ermua Forum, Mikel Buesa, considers that Zapatero "has rushed" to announce the start of dialogue with ETA, since "it has not fulfilled the condition" which he set that all violent activity must have disappeared in order to start the process. In Buesa's opinion it is "false" that "ETA has abandoned terrorism", because in the last weeks there have been acts "of street terrorism" and extortion "has continued".


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 05:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Teresa Jiménez-Becerril, sister of Alberto Jiménez-Becerril, city councillor from PP in Sevilla who was murdered by ETA in 1998, expressed her opinion that it is a triumph of "Txapote's spirit" that Zapatero has announced the start of dialogue with the gang. Jiménez-Becerril has declared that this negotiation implies that "kicking glass panes and laughing at the victims will have the upper hand", referring to the attitude maintained in the last weeks by several ETA prisoners who went on trial at the National Court (Audiencia Nacional).


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 06:33:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
El Pais: Zapatero announces from the Congress the opening f contacts with ETA (29-06-2006)
The president of the Government [PM] assets that he will keep the Law of Political Parties in force

The president of the Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, accounced shortly before 2pm the opening of contacts with ETA, in the framework of the peace process iniciated after the announcement of a permanent ceasefire by the terrorist organization last March 22. The head of the Executive has avoided an appearance before a plenary [session] of the Congress, and has made an institutional statement to the citizens from the lobby of the Chamber [of Deputies].

"Through these long years all Governments have tried to attain peace from a broad commitment to convivality, keeping an essential principle: democracy shall not pay any political price for attaining the peace. And defending that the process of pacification and normalization of the basque Country is a task for all political forces. It has been gathered in this way in various institutional resolutions. Precisely under cover of the resolution of the Congress of May 2005, I want to anounce to you that the Government is going to initiate its contacts with ETA, keeping the principle that political questions can only be dealt with democratically elected representatives", has been the formulation chosen by Zapatero. "We will approach this with unity and loyalty, always, alwasys respecting the memory of victims", the head of the Government added. Zapatero has also wanted to recognised "the servants of the State" and has had words of praise for the effort of previous executives in their attempt to attain peace.

(my translation)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:36:22 AM EST
To keep translation aroudn the same place.

Here is the part of press conference hinting a future new statute.
Translation babelfish plus corrections..

I also want to establish basic principles about the future of Euskadi, to this end I want to make an appeal to the citizens, the  political parties and the Basque society in general. The citizens of Euskadi enjoy the greater self-government than they have never had in his history with the Statute of Gernika, elaborated under protection of the Constitution of 1978. They decided, the Basque citizens, freely his future. Unfortunately violence, coaction and terror remained. We have the opportunity to end that situation, and from the principles of the past, from the democratic principles, I can assure you that the Government will respect the decisions of the Basque citizens which they adopt freely, respecting the legal norms and procedures, the democratic methods, the rights and liberties of the citizens, and in absence of all type of violence and coaction.

The first clear and public hint that a new statute within the constutional framework? I certainly think so.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Translation of part of the speech where hints that Batasuna will ahve to ccondemn violence (law of political parties force any party to condemn violence to be legal).

As alwasy translation mine and babelfish


In more than one occasion you heard me saying that the future of Euskadi demands a great agreement of political coexistence. Concretely, in the debate on the Ibarretxe plan, ` if we live juntos (together)', I affirmed in that occasion, ` we decide juntos (together)'. A great political agreement of coexistence (sic), for that reason the Government understands that the agreements between different political "formacion" (it can mean party ot political structure-formation) from Euskadi must be reached with the maximum possible consensus, respecting the political plurality of Euskadi and with the same opportunities for all parts. Democratic will, rule of law, ample political agreement that reflects the pluralism of the Basque society, those are the rules. Rules that are also valid for the participation in the institutional political life. For that reason, I want to reassure that the Government is going to maintain the use of the Law of Parties. During years, all the democrats have tried that all those who  did not accept, which do not accept, the democratic will of the Basques, will finally accept the rules of the game. We have that opportunity now, and we will work so that this time it will come to happen.

Clear?

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El Pais: The PP will not support the Government if the latter doesn't guarantee that it will not meet with Batasuna (29-06-2006)
Rajoy appears [before the press] to respond to the commencement of dialogue with ETA

The PP will not support the Government in the process of dialogue with ETA as long as two conditions are not met: that ETA "dissolves" itself and thet the Government guarantees that it is not going to meet with Batasuna and is not going to legalize the abertzale [Basque patriot] formation as long as that [dissolution] doesn't happen. So stated it the PP leader, Mariano Rajoy, after the President of the Government [PM] announced he is going to start a dialogue with ETA.

Mariano Rajoy has started by repeating that "there haven't been great novelties in the PP's position since March 22" when ETA announced the permanend ceasefire. He has recalled that on that day he offered the support of the PP to the Government for "the same thing that President [PM] Aznar received support for from the rest of parties [after ETA's 1999 turce]: to see whether ETA 's decision to leave its arms was irreversible".

The Spanish political kabuki continues: everyone is acting on character and it almost seems scripted.

Zapatero has never said they he would talk to Batasuna. He said the Government would talk with ETA on disarmament and prisoners and that political issues would be dealt with by the Basque political parties. So, by insisting on Batasuna, the PP is just confusing the issues.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:45:35 AM EST


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 09:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zapatero cannot do this for 18 months with the PP in full-frontal opposition. I predict general elections a year early, with dissolution of the Cortes as soon as the 2007 budget is approved. Batasuna will have refounded itself at the end of this year with statutes explicitly renouncing armes struggle and will be able to contest the elections.

A vicious campaign revolving around the idea of Spain, federalism, and ETA will ensue, and a PSOE absolute majority (and PP collapse).

Basque elections could happen up to one year early in 2008, and there will be a new statute by the end of Zapatero's second term.

Remember: you read it here first. ;-)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:05:46 AM EST
Indeed possible. I can not udnerstand the postion of PP unless they have strong indications of right-wing collapse if Zapatero gets his will.

I actually think that a different approach will be much more better for PP, of course they would lose the next election.. but losing an election is very different that going to jump over the window  and disappear of the political relevance for a decade.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Aznar will come back in 2007/8

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:16:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow wow.. that WILL BE something.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:22:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Váyase, señor Zapatero!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:23:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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